Speaking at ClickZ Live Hong Kong last week, American Apparel’s chief digital officer (CDO) and former molecular biologist Thoryn Stephens took the stage in a sepia-toned patterned blazer to talk customer centricity, the omnichannel experience and the future of retail.
Customer centricity is… focusing on a current and future need of a select set of customers to maximise long term value to the firm. It’s about knowing who they are and driving value to the organisation by driving value to the consumer.
Three major customer centric metrics… that we use on a daily basis are realised customer value (that’s essentially the value of the customer at this moment in time), remaining customer lifetime value — and when you join the two — that’s customer lifetime value, or CLV.
Customer lifetime value (CLV)… is the value of consumer for indeterminate period of time, basically how much are you willing to pay for a customer. If you know the lifetime value of a customer is $500, you may be willing to spend upwards of $50-150, for example.
My personal favourite is… the Net Promotor Score (aka. would you recommend this product or service to a friend?) It’s reflective of how well are we doing as a brand and everyone who purchases on American Apparel now gets that question.
To maximize CLV… it’s about the right message, channel and time — creating an omnichannel spectrum and experience. With the multitude of touch points to the consumer, how are you reaching them, understanding the customer journey and tailoring their experience in the most opportune moment in time?
Collecting the right data… is number one within the digital ecosystem. Once you have that, are you driving insights, reporting on it and driving hypotheses? We test absolutely everything. That’s very important in the retail and fashion market. Fashion can be very emotional and having a testing platform removes that emotion.
Test and learn everything… if you understand your high-value consumers, then test your low- and mid-value consumers to become high-value consumers. Customer centric measurements and metrics are absolutely crucial.
The future of retail… will be about on-demand fulfilment. Using the Postmates app, you can now order an American Apparel hoody and have it arrive within 60 minutes. We launched in March and our average order value was two-fold what we see in other markets. That’s the way of the future.